Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

I recently watched a video about becoming a more intentional mom. It made me laugh as I thought about how intentionality has played out in my motherhood. There’s a difference between having good intentions and being intentional. I’ve frequently oscillated between the two.

In 2019, I became a single mom. In most rooms, I’m in the relationship minority. But although most of my peers can’t relate to single motherhood, we can all find common ground over things like loss, life taking a direction we didn’t anticipate, and seasons of learning to walk in the dark.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last few years, it’s this: even when you’re not able to be fully intentional with your life, God always is. 

Of course, an easy life was never promised. But He will bring you the right people, opportunities, and direction at the end of the day. In my experience, this happens over and over until you have the eyes to see it and make space to welcome things in. 

When I think about the first two years following my divorce, I think about trying to strap a thrashing toddler into a car seat to get from A to B. I remember my sons kicking and screaming. I remember trying to put their arms in the armholes, unable to buckle the seatbelt because their back would be arched in a toddler kung fu move.

But in this early post-divorce period, I was the toddler in that picture, and God, of course, was the parent. Me flailing around, trying to gain some sense of solid ground in the ever-changing tides of my life. And God is infinitely more patient and merciful with me than I’ve ever been with my own kids. 

RELATED: Overwhelm Isn’t Just a Season For a Single Mom

After my divorce, I was angry and sad and resentful, and exhausted. I quickly realized I was also completely lost as to who I was. There was suddenly an enormous emotional burden to carry, and I had no idea how to carry it alongside my motherhood. Needless to say, I had good intentions but couldn’t be very intentional and was full of guilt about that. I thought, if I’m on my own, I’d better get it together for my kids.

Trying to “get it together” for me back then meant working full time with kids at home for weeks on end through the early pandemic, awake past midnight trying to finish everything from the day without the demands of small people. Plenty of nights, my kids were served very upscale “small plates” consisting of various snack foods because I had no energy to prepare a homemade meal for any of us.

I also thought it would be a good idea to dive into the online dating pool, which I quickly realized is the worst place on Earth. Many nights after the boys were in bed, I would lie in my closet and cry on the floor. I would stare at the ceiling and ask God why everything had to be so hard. 

Things didn’t magically get better, and I wasn’t able to be the intentional mom I wanted to be for a long time. But I did find myself surrounded by people I didn’t know I needed. I noticed various things fall into my lap that I couldn’t explain. And I realized that even in my most directionless moments, God wasn’t going to let me get too far off course. I have plenty of examples of why I know this is true.

After selling our family home and spending a few years in various living situations, I was able to purchase a house at the peak of a competitive market. My realtor later told me that we beat multiple offers for tens of thousands of dollars more than I would ever have to give. I didn’t have the means. But God did.

I work for myself, so I have flexibility, but I don’t always know what the next month will bring. My clientele can change with one-day notice, and I can suddenly find myself with a gap in income. But when this happens, something new presents itself that I couldn’t have predicted. I don’t have the foresight. But God sees.

I’ve been lucky enough to have been surrounded by women who make me feel empowered, who have offered uplifting words when I don’t have any, meals when I’m tired of cooking, childcare when I need a hand, and prayer because we all need that. I don’t always ask for help. But God provides.

And finally, my family and ex-husband, who hadn’t spoken in several years, were suddenly able to start interacting again, opening a door to a much more positive future dynamic than I imagined. I can’t control other people. But God works all things out for our good.

RELATED: God is For Me

Things are different today. And when I feel the weight of being alone and have anxiety about the future, I’m continuously reminded that I have someone else being intentional on my behalf. 

When I compare my life to someone else’s or am wishing for something different, I’m reminded that God wrote a story just for me. Wishing for something else prevents me from seeing the beauty, lessons, and opportunities to find joy in the many blessings I do have.   

So, if you find yourself in a season where you’re wracked with guilt for being unable to cook the homemade dinners, make minimalism happen in real life, or put non-stretchy pants on for the day, be comforted in knowing that you don’t have to do it all to succeed. God isn’t going to let you fail because even if you can’t see it, He can.

I take comfort in Jeremiah 29:11, which says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

You’ve got this, and God’s got you.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Lauren Panoff

Lauren is a plant-based dietitian and freelance writer learning to let Jesus take the wheel more every day. When she's not writing, she's working out, playing guitar, or going on adventures with her two sons. Connect with her more at https://laurenpanoff.com/ or https://www.instagram.com/futureisveg/

Dear Single Mom, I See Your Heart

In: Motherhood
Mom helping daughter on bike

Single motherhood is running alongside the bike.  Although it feels so hard to keep up with a moving bike on foot, all your child remembers is your presence.  That you were right there to catch her if she falls.  You are her constant safety net.  Her security.  I’ve watched you love with your whole heart, even when you felt there was nothing left to give.  I’ve watched you show your child how to work hard, have determination, and you have done so with an immense amount of grace and honor.  RELATED: Dear Single Mom, God Sees You I’ve watched you...

Keep Reading

Stop Chasing What’s Next and Give God Your Now

In: Faith, Living
Young mother walking with daughter outside on path at dusk

God has you here for a reason. He has placed you exactly where He wants you to be, and you have an opportunity to minister to someone along your path who needs exactly what you have to give. I know you might not feel qualified for the task before you, and that’s okay. He will equip you with exactly what you need. He has an amazing way of doing that. I know you’re looking for ways to be somewhere else right now. Something else seems more intriguing than your reality. Maybe it’s a new home, living in an entirely new...

Keep Reading

I Became a Widow at 37; God’s Grace Sustained My Young Family

In: Faith, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Mom and young daughter at sunset

After my husband soared to Heaven eight years ago, my three daughters and I found ourselves on an intense grief journey. I never imagined being a widow at age 37 when my girls were just 2, 5, and 8 years old. Despite the heaviness of grief, I knew God was near. And I longed for my daughters to experience His comforting presence too. That’s how we started chasing God’s glory together. We started with a nightly rhythm of watching the sunset together. We would step out onto our back patio or pull over on the side of the road and pause...

Keep Reading